In the wake of this Duck Dynasty debacle, a lot of people are coming out of the woodwork in support of free speech. Interestingly, the actual story that everyone is up in arms about has nothing to do with anyone’s first amendment rights being violated. In fact, this outpouring of support has nothing to do with championing constitutional rights at all, and everything to do with a tacit, if not overt, support of bigotry.
Recent public opinion polling regarding same-sex marriage and homosexual equality have put people who share Phil Robertson’s beliefs in an awkward position: while they are in the majority when it comes to religious identity, their bigoted opinions about homosexuality are becoming increasingly marginal and less socially acceptable. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of those clamoring in support of Phil Robertson would never say the things he did publicly, at least not in mixed company. More than a few of these people probably even have a gay friend or relative. If pressed on the issue, a lot of these people would probably give something akin to the morally ambiguous “love the sinner, hate the sin” response that I’ve heard more than a few times.
But when the chance arises to put another face on what amounts to an open support of bigotry, these people come out in droves. The straw man that this crowd rallies behind is almost always “Freedom of Speech.” They obfuscate what they really support by making the issue look as if it is about anyone’s right to say whatever they want. As another blogger succinctly said:
“You are not some sort of “Patriot, fighting for the First Amendment rights of all Americans” if the only time you get upset about a person’s “rights being trampled” is when it happens to people who think exactly like you.”
Where is the outrage from these champions of free speech when arsonists attempt to burn down an atheist billboard in New Jersey? I read stories like this every year, and I have yet to see the same crowd championing Phil Robertson’s first amendment rights raise their voice in outrage over this sort of thing.
Let’s be honest here. This has nothing to do with “Free Speech” and everyone knows it. It has everything to do with showing support for a belief that is offensive and unpopular, a belief that most people don’t have the courage to express out loud themselves. You people who are hiding behind the smokescreen of free speech to show your support for a bigoted view of homosexuality are no better than clansmen, hiding under hoods while espousing racist propaganda.